After Hours (1985)
A Manhattan Yuppie's night out becomes a comic nightmare, courtesy of director Martin Scorsese. Griffin Dunne and Rosanna Arquette star in a "wild, funny and wonderful original" (Judith Crist) Year: 1985 Director: Martin Scorsese Starring: Griffin Dunne, Rosanna Arquette, Verna Bloom
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Critic Reviews for After Hours
The result is a delirious and challenging comedy, a postmodern Ulysses in Nighttown.
Anxiety-ridden picture would have been pretty funny if it didn't play like a confirmation of everyone's worst fears about contemporary urban life.
Scorsese's orchestration of thematic development, narrative structure, and visual style is stunning in its detail and fullness; this 1985 feature reestablished him as one of the very few contemporary masters of filmmaking.
After Hours is not, ultimately, a satisfying film, but it's often vigorously unsettling. In this season of homogenized pap, that should be read as praise.
This is the work of a master filmmaker who controls his effects so skillfully that I was drained by this film.
[Scorsese's] tendency toward hollow showboating has rarely been more in evidence ... Ends as a tolerable but annoyingly atonal exercise made by artists with little if anything on their minds.
Martin Scorsese's take on NYC puts a hip spin on Joe Minion's cleverly constructed nightmare.
During the 80s there was a slew of yuppie revenge flicks where film-makers visited horrors on the heads of young urban professionals and this is probably the best of that mini-genre.
A SoHo version of Ulysses? A male rendition of Alice in Wonderland? In Scorsese's noir comedy, a bored, repressed Everyman becomes an alien in his own town, subjected to one surreal nightmare after another, mostly by women.
I love it for its unrelenting inventiveness, its constant motion and its curmudgeonly glass-half-empty outlook.
Scorsese's showmanship ends up enhancing the film's dreamlike, surrealist sense of encroaching hysteria.
Darkly comedic and delightfully manic, After Hours is a fresh, funny look at one man's downward mental and emotional slide into an evening of unmitigated SoHo hell.
Quintessentially New York
Scorsese's masterpiece of uncomfortable cinema
Scorsese's mortgage payment was due.
Audience Reviews for After Hours
When it's after midnight in New York City, you don't have to look for love, laughter and trouble. They'll all find you!
Great weird film! One of Martin Scorsese's most underrated films. It was made in 1985, and I can already see the techniques Scorsese used in Goodfellas and the quick editing. It is directed and edited really well. So if you were a fan of Scorsese's frantic camera work in Goodfellas and Casino, this film is for you. It really does put you on edge as a viewer, you really want Dunne's character to get back home but everything possible that could happen to him happens. This is not just a evocation of soHo in the early 80's, it is a deeply black comedy. All the rules go out the window for Dunne's character, because after all it is after hours. Overall, however, "After Hours" is an enjoyable film. It is an especially good choice to gain a sense of perspective. Not many ongoing experiences can be worse than the rough night that Paul has in Soho. Watch at own risk!
Conjure up an urban world where apparently friendly young ladies all turn out to be somewhere between odd and crazy. Then imagine you're up here to see one such girl and your last bill has flown out of the cab window on the way. Then pretend your date has committed suicide, you've somehow got branded as a serial robber, and another girl is after you with her ice cream van. You could well be Paul Hackett stranded in New York's SoHo in the early hours miles away from your uptown word processing job. You've got some change but since the subway fares went up at midnight, not enough to get back. Who do you call? Definitely not the police.
After Hours is an absolute delight. The theme concerns one night in New York City, and although what transpires could happen in any major metropolitan area, the trappings are distinctly New York. It's funny how Scorsese is able to satirize the city while still celebrating its cosmopolitan atmosphere. The genius is the method in which the action slowly unfolds getting progressively more ridiculous as time goes on. We sense something is amiss right from the very start. Notice how Marcy's roommate Kiki answers the phone when he rings her up. Kiki's disembodied voice dripping with annoyance. That's merely the beginning. His odyssey becomes nightmarish in its development. The brilliance is that he takes the saga to places we don't anticipate. Creatively building layer upon layer of insanity to form a perfectly realized vision of hell on earth. It's hilarious, weird and uncomfortable at once. Throughout it all, Dunne grounds the picture in an air of normalcy that radiates safety for the viewer. And just when you fear that this cruel paean to the Big Apple cannot end in any meaningful way, it does. The story comes full circle intelligently referencing events we've seen before. It's an intricately constructed tale that simply gets better with age.More
Paul Hackett (Griffin Dunne) is your average 1980s New York yuppie. One night after work he has a chance encounter with a woman whom he makes a bit of a connection with. A little while later he decides to meet up with her in SoHo. As soon as he starts making his way to the neighborhood though, what should have been a straightforward and simple "date" of sorts turns into a bizarre madcap misadventure where Paul's attempts to get back home get weirder and worse as the night goes on.
Plotwise, that's pretty much it: guy goes out, tries to go home, shit hits the fan. The movie is a delightfully odd and darkly funny trip through the nuttier side of urban life in the wee hours of the morning. It's less of a character study, than a study in weirdness propelled by some increasingly ecclectic and odd characters, played by an impressive lineup of performers including Rosanna Arquette, Verna Bloom, Cheech and Chong, Linda Fiorentino, Teri Garr, John Heard, and Catherine O'Hara among others.
This is an atypical film for Scorsese, and it seems weird at first having him direct something like this. It's not really his thing, and seems more like the perfect fit for the Coen Brothers. Yet, while watching it, the viewer realizes that, atypical or not, Scorsese is the right fit for such a project because he knows New York, he knows New York at night, and he's great at having movies that have a nightmarish tone filled lots of paranoia and craziness. What makes it stick out is the overall tone, the dark comedy element. This is probably the closest Scorsese will come to making a comedy, even if it isn't a "pure" one per se.
I've mentioned some of the actors who play the side characters, but let's diiscuss their performances. They're great. All of them. Dunne excels as playing the increasingly harried and Kafkaesque protagonist Paul, while all the others do a godo job (and have lots of fun) playing all sorts of odd balls whose actions aren't always explained. That's another element that really makes this film sing is that it leaves some things unexplained or untouched, and it works better as a result, and adds to the proceedings instead of being too vague for the sake of too vague.
Howard Shore's music is both fun and perfectly fitting of the atmosphere, Michael Ballhaus has done some excellent work as cinematographer for a numebr of Scorsese films, and he adds another one to that list with his work here. The lighting, camera moves, and various neat angles are well executrd and only add to the film instead of being just for show. Thelma Schoonmaker does a great as usual job with the editing, and Scorsese does a terrific job with his directing, proving that, even with a slightly lighter tone than the rest of his work, he can still pull off something spectacular.
Give this one a shot. it's weird, nutty, and all kinds of random, but it's hilarious, super entertaining, and extremely well made. Bravo.
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